Twenty starters are expected for tomorrow’s Amlin Plus eventers’ challenge at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead (30 July).
This class is a reinvention of an old favourite — the eventing grand prix, in which eventers and showjumpers competed head to head over both knockdown and solid fences, including jumping out of the arena over some rustic fences.
This year the contest is restricted to eventers only and riders will remain in the arena, tackling a course designed by Richard Taylor.
New Zealand rider Tim Price (not pictured) will start as the favourite on Wesko, last year’s Luhmühlen CCI4* winner and runner-up at Kentucky this April. The 12-year-old is a very careful jumper and although both horse and rider are Hickstead debutants, they have competed in plenty of big arenas and won’t be fazed by the crowds.
Ireland’s Elizabeth Power will be one to watch, riding Doonaveeragh O One. The horse evented to three-star with her, won the speed Derby here in 2013 with her brother, Grand National winning jockey Robert Power, and was third in the eventing grand prix with him in 2012.
Fellow Irish rider Joseph Murphy also pilots an experienced horse, his championship veteran Electric Cruise, who could be well suited to this class.
Tina Cook has a good chance with DHI Zancorgino, a Lupicor son who was bought for 2008 junior European champion Sienna Myson Davies but turned out to be too big for her. Tina took him on last year and he has proved an excellent jumper on his runs this year.
Kiwi Andrew Nicholson will hope to be competitive on Cillnabradden Evo, who has not had a showjump down this year.
British Europeans squad riders Gemma Tattersall (Tropique), Pippa Funnell (Billy Cuckoo), Laura Collett (Mr Bass) and Flora Harris (Cesano H) are also worth an each way bet.
Up-and-coming Brits Sophie Beaty and Will Furlong are on the entries list with Stanly and Livingstone II, but a change of horse or late withdrawal would not be unexpected as earlier this week these pairs were named for the British young rider squad for their Europeans in Poland at the end of August.
Also entered are Britain’s Charlotte Agnew (Cooley Kudu), Jeanette Brakewell (Forever Red), Tom McEwen (Cuarento), Rose Carnegie (Master Rory), Abi Walters (Perfick Miss Amber), Harry Meade (Vrolijk) and Tanya Kyle (Emerald Butterfly), plus Swede Anna Hilton (Mr Matrix) and New Zealander Lucy Jackson (Wellshead Munnings).